Monday, April 17, 2017

Smartphone Activation EZ my Azz!

Well, the ole Samsung Note 4 began biting the dust last week, so I placed an order for a replacement phone thru the insurance plan.  This process took over 1.5 hours on the internet, after chatting with 1-800 India with AT&T and then the 1-800 Philippines with the insurance carrier.

The phone arrives with two day delivery.  Time to run through the process of moving from the Note 4 to a Galaxy S7.  With today's technology this should be a piece of cake!  I look at the new phone.  The back doesn't come off. What the heck????  I compare the simm cards and the newest one is smaller!  Oh boy, I can tell this is gonna be fun!

I do an internet search, to find that you push a provided pin into a whole and that pops our the bracket that holds the smaller simm card and the sd card.  Got it!  In they go!

Next, I do the Google backup from the cloud, from the old phone to the new phone.  After that was successful, I did the AT&T data transfer.  So far all my contacts and applications have made it over.  Winner!  Winner! Chicken dinner!

Time to activate the simm card with AT&T.  An internet search gets me to the right place, click I go!  Whoops!  AT&T does not recognize the phone as a new purchase.  Now you click the transfer to activate an insurance replacement phone.  Okee Dokee.  I get to the screen that asks you what phone you are replacing.  PROBLEM!  Internet link tells me to call 1-800-AT&T.  I get Joe the Plumber!  American English speaking dude, awesome!!!

Joe the plumber and I go through all the hoops, then he says, "you now need to restart both phones" for me to activate the new simm card.  WHAT????  Dude how are we gonna finish this????  Joe the Plumber tells me "you should have called in from a third phone".  You gotta be kidding me......

I finally ask Joe the Plumber if I can finish this process at a retail store.  Joe says "absolutely!"  Off I go to AT&T retail store.  So much for technology.  So much for 1-800 AT&T!  I get to the retail store, and explain my situation.  The salesman had the biggest grin on his face and says "no problem!"  He then proceeds to take the old bigger simm card out of the old phone, place it in a cutter machine,  chop chop!  He then inserts the newly sliced older simm card into the new phone, and says "all done!"  I'll be dang!  All that technology still hasn't replaced a Ronco Vegimatic veggie chopper!!!!!

Finally!  two hours later, I am back in business with a new working cell phone!  But wait!  I now need a new tempered glass and Otter box too!  It never ends.......

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Oh NOLA, Oh How I Have Missed You

Being owners of a timeshare, we get to go and stay at lots of our favorite places.  You have to plan ahead, often times 9-12 month out, but it has certainly worked for us.  Plans were made months ago for a visit to NOLA this Easter weekend.  This also worked out to be the spousal unit's birthday weekend.

We got a condo at the Avenue Plaza, on St. Charles, in the garden district.  The streetcar line stops just several yards for the front door. This is a great place to stay during Mardi Gras, if you can manage a reservation.   The goal this trip was to leave the car parted the entire stay until departure.  You can get an all day (24 hr) bus pass for $3, and its good for all the streetcar lines and buses throughout the city.

The spousal unit got enticed to attend the owner's update meeting with a $100 gift card.  It's their time to tell you how to get more out of your ownership by you giving them more money!  NOT!!!  The one hour time limit came and went, but finally we were out the door and streetcar, here we come!

We always try to do something different every trip.  This time, we are on discovery for some new eating establishments to add to our favorite list.  My friend Karlene had posted some pics at a french bakery, La Madeleine's Country French Cafe, months back and it had caught our interest.  It's located at the bend in the track in the Carrollton section.  One of our favorite finds in this area is a restaurant called Carrollton Market, also recommended by a friend.

This being the birthday girl's weekend, our next stop was Kendra Scott, on Magazine Street, for some bling bling!  The streetcar stopped at Nashville Street.  Time for a multi-block stroll to Magazine!  Its interesting to take time to look at the old houses in New Orleans.  In most, the living quarters are elevated, since the city is below sea level.  The green spaces are so limited, with the houses on top of each other, but the homeowners do a lot with what they have.  Flowerbeds have already been planted, and all the privacy hedges are trimmed regularly.  Its a big job to keep these old houses up, and if you look close enough you can find where paint is beginning to peel here and there.

We finally reach Magazine Street, and just two building down, there is our destination, Kendra Scott!  Armed with her $100 gift card, the spousal unit was ready to shop!  I found a chair in a corner by the door and quickly claimed it as my own.  The spousal unit was delighted with all the jewelry items on display, and I got all excited over all the eye candy manning the store!  These gals were working hard for their commissions.  Sitting in  the corner, I was able to spot all the security cameras that were mounted on the ceiling and walls, losing count after 15!  The eye candy had their routine in place.  When one would begin helping a new customer, another would work her way to the front hallway, to monitor the customers trying on the jewelry.  It worked like clockwork, one would move in for the kill (commission), and another would man the monitoring station at the hallway.  Spousal unit made her selections.  She made a comment about being here for her birthday weekend and they gave her half off on her most expensive item!  The bookkeeper in me smelled a big markup on the prices!

With bus pass in hand, our next stop was the Quarter. If you've got the time, you have to take a bus ride along Magazine Street.  The people that ride this bus route can't be found anywhere else .  I love striking up conversations with them because you never know where it will go!  We get off the bus at Canal Street and are headed to the red line streetcars when this couple that was on the bus, asks me how do you get to the French Market?  I ask, "do you have an all day bus pass?"  She says "yes! thank you Jesus!"  I reply "follow me!  But my name is Bill, not Jesus.  He comes tomorrow!"  We take the Red Line to the end of Canal, then on to the River Line.  We exit near Cafe Du Monde, and say goodbye and point out the next stop to our new friends.

Cafe Du Monde is a major tourist stop, with everyone wanting beignets, coffee or a coke.  There is always a line, either for a table, or for the takeout window.  Knowing a few secrets, we were seated and had our treats in minutes.  I began staring at this cutie pie in this dark blue dress.  As we left I told her I couldn't believe she didn't have any powdered sugar on her!

A walk around Jackson Square is always fun.  On a Saturday you can usually spot a bridal parade around the Square.  Its interesting to look at what some call art, some of it looks like paint splatters.  There are plenty of palm and tarot card readers to occupy some of your time.  I love listening to the sketch artists talk as they are putting the finishing touches to one of their renderings for tourists!

Time for dinner!  Unfortunately the place we picked out, Red Gravy, near the J.W. Marriott, closes at 2, so it will get a visit later in our stay!  We ended up at The Redfish Grill on Bourbon St.  Its owned by the Brennan family, so we knew it had to be good.  We went into the bar while we waited for a table.  We ended up being offered a seat at a table by a family from New Jersey.  They came for the Carnival Cruise.  I suggested some items that they might like to try off the menu, but made the mistake of telling them what was in it.  We did get the lady to try an specialty oyster, it was hilarious watching it go down!  The waitress said the funniest thing to her is the tourists that think boudin balls must be alligator testicles!!!!

There was this guy next to us, in a wheel chair, with a brace on his knee.  He was surrounded by friends, including a lot of pretty women, tending to his every need.  I commented, "you know, if I was in a wheel chair, with all these pretty women tending to my every need, I might have to take advantage of the situation!  Ya'll didn't notice that the knee brace was on his other leg before he went to the restroom!"  Those ladies looked at each other, and then the laughter exploded!

The ride back to Avenue Plaza on the streetcar brought more interesting people.  We loved the short little couple from Seattle, I swear he looked like a leprechaun!  He said he still hasn't found that pot of gold!  Turns out we were staying at the same place!  I invited them for a nekeed swim, they said, we could get arrested!  I said, not in NOLA!!!

Can't wait for what tomorrow brings!  Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Walmart.com or bust!

I've been a fan of Amazon Prime for years.  Pay a fee up front, and get 2 day shipping for free.  If you haven't tried it you, once you do, you will be addicted in no time!

Walleyworld now has free shipping if you spend $35 or more.  Ok, I was game, and was needing some supplies for that condo in that town up north!

I downloaded the Walleyworld app, and a shopping I went!  Paper plates and bowls, ziploc bags, toothy paste, and velveeta!  Surely velveeta can survive a few days of shipping in the spring.

I checked out using my existing account info.  I get a confirmation email, indicating I can pick up most of my items at my local store and the other items would be shipped.  WTH???  I'm  thinking everthang should be shipped!!!

Ok, I figure, first time, there is always next time.  Today I'm driving by, and it registers "go thru the drive up pickup window"!

I pull up, and dial the number on the sign in the designated parking sport.  The lady on the other end of the line "I'm sorry sir, but this pickup line is only for grocery pickup."  Whoa!  What???  "You will have to come inside and go to customer service to get your items."  Me:  where is that?  Them:  "the back of the store."  Really???

I go park,  walk to the back of the store, and after showing the clerk my barcoded receipt, I had my items. The other items are scheduled for delivery next week.  Seems this store is having a lot of issues with the "pickup" option.

I'm planning on trying again.  With my new found knowledge, I'll be ready for round 2!  A bonus to going in, I got to spot several shoppers that qualified for those "People of Walmart" Facebook links!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I'm the New 60!

Well, back in September,  I hit the magic number of 60!  But hey, I'm not your momma and daddy's 60, I'm the youngest of the young 60!  Or so I thought......

At my last doctor's visit, back in June, he said, well, "now that you will be 60, it's time for another colonoscopy! "  Good God!  Have 10 years passed by that quickly???

So, before the year was out, I scheduled and had my "procedure".  Forget the gallon jug, referred to as "go lightly", I'm all about the mini-prep!  Just 5 ounces of that awful stuff, plus a bunch of water.  I even took the time to read the side effects, a bunch of medical lingo, etc... and possibly of kidney stones.

Three days after the procedure, I'm at Home Depot, doing my grill assembly gig.  Then it hits me!  When you have had as many stones as I've had, you know the symptoms of kidney stones!   Fortunately I was able to handle the pain, and eventually it made it to my bladder.  Had to have been an itsy bitty one!

A few weeks later it was time for my sixth month checkup.  During the blood draw the dang tech had to stick me twice to hit a vein!  That has never happened to me before!  "Now that you're 60......."

In the Doctors office, I hear a knock at the door.  A young, attractive, 28, single "physician's assistant trainee" enters the room.  I know all that, because "at my age" I can get away with asking that!  She goes through all the lab work results, then she hits me with the big one!  "Now that you are 60, you need to consider the shingles vaccine, and the pneumonia shot, in addition to your annual flu shot".  I fired back, "whoa!  Let's back this up to 59.5!  I even told the Doctor about how mean she had been to me before he entered the room!

At home one night, I accidentally dropped my laptop, splitting the power supply port. I've never dropped my laptop like that before! No replacement part, had to move my stuff to another box, at a cost of $200!

Then, recently, I dropped my cell phone in the driveway.  In slow motion, I saw the phone pop out of its protective case, and land face down on the concrete.  Picked it up, yep, cracked!  Another drop, and another $200 to replace half the phone since I'm still under contract! Now that you're 60......

To make this 60+ thang worse, my boss had an 20+ yr old employee complaining about all the work he had scheduled that week.  The boss then proceeds to tell him about his 65 year old employee that does this and more without any help.  I said 65???  He said it sounded better than 60!

The next week I was in Roses, doing assembly.  I went to the cashier to buy a Powerade.  I noticed that she rang it up as a discount.  I'm  thinking, wow, she just gave me a 10% employee discount!  I then look at the ticket, and it was a senior citizens discount!!!  Wait a dang minute!  I do not feel that old!!!!  Now that you're 60.......

So, I feel like I'm the new 60!  Young at heart, and I can out build most of our new hires.  But at every opportunity,  the old 60 keeps raising it's ugly head!

I just hope I can make it to spring.  With that margarita machine of mine and that swimming pool at the Condo in that town up north, hopefully all those cute coeds can get me back into the "new 60 frame of mind!"


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Security! Special Order!

The spousal unit loves to shop.  One of her favorite stores is Macys.  Problem is, there isn't one very close by.  We either go to Memphis, Atlanta, or New Orleans for her to get her Macys fix.

Last year she couldn't wait for a trip, so she hit the internet and placed a Macys order and picked up a few items  she and my buddy Clarence were able to find.  The items arrived, just what she wanted, with one problem.

One of the tops that she ordered still had the security tag on it.  She was sceered to pop it off, for fear of a dye explosion.  And she knew better than to let me at it!  There was no way she was going to take it to Belk or Kohls to see if they could remove it.  She decided to just wait, and take it to one of the Macys stores on our next trip.

Lots of trips came and went, but she could never remember to bring that top with her.  Fast forward, one year later.

We are in the Macys in Kenner, LA, at the old Esplanade Mall.  The spousal unit takes her top to the checkout counter.  She tells them her story, bought online a year ago, and still has the security tag on it.

The Macys gals listen intently.  They look at her ID, they take her credit card, and then look at the security tag.  Their machine doesn't work on that kind of tag.  They updated their tagging system over six months ago!  They do mention that it doesn't have the dye pack in it, and we could have popped it off at home. (Remember, somebody wouldn't give me a shot at it!)

The Macys gals make a phone call to some dude in the Macys dungeon.  They explain the story to him.  The guy walks up, with a printout of the original online receipt. He says that he has one of the older tag removers in his office.  He grabs the top, and off he goes!

 The guy is covered in tattoos.  I ask if he is the maintenance man or something? The Macys gals reply "oh no!  He is the chief of Security!"  I replied "I bet he was tired of looking at cameras all day and was ready to get out of his box and stretch his legs!

The Macys gals got a good laugh out of that, replying "ha!  Not this time of year!"  Yesterday he busted a woman.  She entered the store wearing shorts and a tshirt and was trying to leave wearing three coats, claiming they were hers!

The Dude returns, with security tag removed.  Spousal unit is happy.  I told the Dude I'd be waving at him in the mirrors on future trips!

Dang!  A day in the life of Security!  Special order!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Momma Melton

I fell in love with an older woman this past weekend.  I've never met her, much less seen her, except for the magic that comes through her hands.

Momma Melton came for a visit this weekend with her son Derrel and daughter in law Sherri.  She arrived in the form treats she sent along with them for the weekend we shared.

Derrel and Sherri are friends we met this summer while beaching in Marco Island Florida.  Derrel is one of the biggest football fans I've ever met, and he pulls for Georgia Southern.  We could tell this from his tshirts, his beach umbrella and everything else you could put a college logo on.  Turns out, his team would be playing the spousal unit's Rebels in November.   We befriended each other on FB, and initial plans were set for them to join our tailgate!

During our time at the beach, I shared some of my cheese straws.  Sherri mentioned that her mother in law was famous for her catering, which included her cheese straws.

During the summer, the Spousal unit finally got her condo in that town up north (Oxford).  We finalized plans for Derrel and Sherri to join us during their stay.

Sherri challenged me to a taste test, my cheese straws vs Momma Melton's special catering recipe.  I accepted the challenge, and prepared three different versions, knowing at least one of them would be the eventual winner!

I use a food processor to mix it all up, them squeeze them out of a pampered Chef cookie press.  A lot of love goes into every twist of that press!

Sherri brings out a small metal tin.  It's lined with shrink wrap, and filled with cheese straws filled with more love than you could ever imagine.  We pretty much used the same ingredients, with the exception of my excessive use of cayenne pepper.  The biggest difference was apparent from first sight.  This little ole lady had hand piped these creations.  It takes a special hand to do this because of the strength needed to push the cheese dough through the press!

Momma Melton won hands down, not only for the taste, but for the love that she passes on through her handiwork.  But she didn't stop at just cheesestraws!

Prior to the trip, Derrel mention that he would be bringing some of her apple tarts.  OMG!  These were made with the simplest of ingredients.  But wow.  Hand made crust, individually cut, stuffed, folded, crimped and baked.

She also sent her bacon wrapped cocktail weenies coated in brown sugar.  Saturday morning, these little puppies were the first thing to disappear!

Each sample of the items she sent reminded me of my grandmother.  She also delivered her love through the goodies she prepared in her kitchen.   I so remember her hands, not soft and tender, but rough and firm from all those years spent gardening and cooking at home and the school cafeteria.

Derrel's momma's cooking brought all those childhood memories back to me in a flash!  For that, I will be forever grateful :-).

Derrel and Sherri left for Georgia early yesterday morning.  Thankfully they left behind the leftover cheese straws and apple tarts.  And this was my breakfast treat:

Man, oh man, was it good!

So, next time you meet a stranger or two on the beach, invite them over for a football Saturday weekend.  You never know what they might bring!  Thank Derrel and Sherri for bringing Momma Melton to me!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Oh How I Love Football Saturdays

To me, it never gets old.  The teams don't matter, the score doesn't matter, and the weather certainly doesn't matter.

On this day, it was supposed to be the first day of cool temperatures. Lots dressed for the drop in temp, including me.  What we ended up with was a beautiful, cloudless, hot sunny day.  It was funny to see the same people that sat in the swelter of September, to then run for shade cover throughout the day.  As the sun made its journey west, the tailgate chair chain began its migration east, almost like the African wildibeast crossing the Seringetti plains!

The anticipated cooler weather also brought out the fall food offerings.  My buddy Keith brought his famous Louisiana gumbo.  To heat it, I brought my handy dandy Coleman gas fired crockpot.    A bragged so much on this fine tailgating necessity, that earlier in the week I tried to find them on the internet, so I could share in yet another "cool item" with the others.  But, sadly, Coleman has discontinued making them, and the two I located on Ebay were way over priced.

The gas fired crockpot tends to burn a wee bit too hot, so to compensate, I insert a small crock that is just the right size.  Ole Keith was concerned that I wouldn't get to temperature fast enough.  His gumbo was a bit on the cool side, so I reassured him that it was just a matter of time.  He wanted to pour his gumbo into the bigger pot, but knowing it was going to be me doing the cleanup, we stayed with my original plan.  In about an hour, ole Keith hollers "Bill, we got boil!"  Yes, success!   Time to bowl up!

I had brought a ladle for the spooning.  To our surprise, one of our tailgating newbies had used the ladle to scoop up rotel dip out of the chafing dish.  What!  No!!  Wait!  That's  breaking tailgating rule number 162, if you don't know, ask!!!  Velvet cheese in your gumbo, who ever heard!

This being the last weekend of October, we naturally had representation with a few crazies.  With our tailgating location at the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop, we have the best location to watch the "you're busted" by the University Police taking care of business with the passerbys:


Here we have "Richard Simmons", busted for beer not matching his outfit




The local fan whose cooler "hit the bump in the road", cans everywhere, and not a drop to drink, all down the gutter


You gotta love gals walking from one party to another, with open container in hand

The gal with the pink funnel.  The funnel made it thru, but sadly, the beer was history





Yes, it's Octoberfest! But unfortunately, without this load of beer!


 Our tailgating crew was supposed to be small on this day, but you could not tell it by the crowd we ended up with.  The starving college kids made their appearance.  My choir director friend stopped by, after making the three hour trip to visit with her "band kid" for a couple of hours before making the return trip home.  My young buck preacher buddy stopped by for his football Saturday sugar cookie fix.

 Chef Kyle had his Kansas crew in tow for their requested return visit.  Their is something about those Kansas women.  I can't resist hugging them because they just smell so good!

  There were quite a few Auburn Tigers among us, and we even had a "retirement ceremony" for one of their chairs that bit the dust.  And our crew member Margaret was celebrating birthday number 51 with lots of her family in attendance!

Here are a few more pics from the day:
Margaret the birthday girl






 Chef Kyle in action


The Band began its pep rally, then lined up for its parade March to the Vaught.  As they made their turn for the stadium, that was our cue to pack up and follow the pied piper band on to victory land.

No win on this day in TSUN land.  The crowd quickly disbursed.  After two trips to the car and a stop to pick up my passengers, we too were on our way, back to our condo in "that town up north".  To our surprise,  Taco Hell had closed its dining room before 11:30, ugh!, drive thru only.  To heck with that.  Waffles and beer at the home place it will be!

The best thing yet, in a few short days we get to do it all over again!